Scott Cooley, who lived for revenge on those who had a part in the murder of his foster-father, Tim Williamson, made a kind of headquarters with his violent and disreputable friends in Loyal Valley. George Gladden had a place there – he, like many other participants in the feud – was a small rancher with a reputation as being handy with a gun. A few weeks after the murder of Deputy Whorle, Cooley’s gang targeted Peter Bader, who was reported to have been in the lynch mob who ambushed Tim Williamson on the road between the Lehmburg ranch and Mason, and had fired the final shot killing Williamson. Unfortunately, Cooley and Johnny Ringo hit Peter Bader’s brother Carl, instead – gunning him down in his own field where he had been working. Whether this was deliberate or a case of mistaken identity is a matter undecided – but by committing this murder, Cooley had thrown a rock into a hornets’ nest. The Clark faction responded by attempting to draw out the Cooley gang to Mason. Sheriff Clark convinced – or hired – a local gambler named Jim Cheney to try and talk the Cooley gang into coming to Mason.
mason county hoodoo war
History Friday: The Mason County Hoo-Doo War – Part Two
The Hoo-Doo war eventually became so bitter and vicious that all sides involved in it splintered into factions – even the company of Texas Rangers eventually dispatched to quell the range war split over it. The one survivor of the Baccus lynching still in custody, one Tom Turley, was returned to jail when he recovered, but very shortly, he was joined there by one of Sheriff Clark’s original cattle-thief hunting posse; Caleb Hall, now accused of being a cattle thief as well. A second posse member, Tom Gamel, now claimed that the notion of lynching the Baccus gang was first bruited about by the members of Clark’s posse – and he, for one, had been strongly against it. Rumors began flying around Mason that another lynching might be in the works – of Turley, Hall and Gamel themselves. Turley and Hall promptly escaped the jail and Mason County entirely, never to return. Tom Gamel stood his ground, recruiting about thirty friends – cattlemen and ranchers from the local area. He and his friends rode into Mason one day late in March. Not prepared for receiving so many presumably hostile guests, Sheriff Clark skedaddled. Gamel and his friends lingered in town for a couple of days, stewing for a fight … which nearly happened when Sheriff Clark returned with sixty well-armed local German friends. But the two sides declared a truce – and an end to mob justice.
History Friday: The Haunting of Mason County
The so-called Mason County Hoo-Doo War was one of those particularly impenetrable frontier feuds which mixed up all the classic western feud elements into one bloody and protracted mess; legal possession of land provided one cause for conflict, there was also a clash between cattle ranchers and local farmers and townsmen, wrangling over the ownership of cattle – branded and otherwise – ethnic resentment between German and native-born American or Anglo settlers, the passions of Unionist and Confederate partisans still at a simmer in the aftermath of the Civil War, and finally, that Mason County was situated on the far frontier, where enforcement of the law was a sketchy and erratically enforced thing.